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Church’s Chicken

The first Church’s Chicken location opened in 1952 in San Antonio, Texas, across from the Alamo. The Southern-style fried-chicken restaurant was founded by George Church as a to-go concept with walk-up service only. Church didn’t even add side dishes to the menu for another three years. By 1969, the company had incorporated and went public. A decade later, Church’s was acquired by Al Copeland, who founded Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen, but in 1992, control of Church’s was assumed by America’s Favorite Chicken Company, what became AFC Enterprises Inc., after a bankruptcy.

AFC later split Popeye’s and Church’s into separate entities, and Church’s was later bought by private-equity firms, including the current owner Friedman Fleischer & Lowe, which acquired the company in 2009.

The menu at Church’s remains focused on fried chicken pieces and tenders, but also include smoked chicken, family meals and sides like jalapeno cheese bombers, fried okra, honey-butter biscuits and Texas sheet cake cups.

Church’s operates across the U.S. and in about 22 countries internationally, where it is known as Texas Chicken.

Key Data: Church’s Chicken

Headquarters: Atlanta

Segment: Quick Service

Restaurant segment: LSR chicken

Number of U.S. locations: 911

2020 Sales: $698.5 million

Annual Growth:

Source: Datassential Firefly 500

CEO: Joe Christina

Parent: Cajun Operating Co.